by Meghna MehtaApr 22, 2020
Planned as a place for mind stimulation and introspection, atelier Plantel Matilde sits quietly in the vast greenscape of Yucatan jungle in Mexico. Primarily designed as a sculpture studio, Plantel Matilde has been built by two brothers - Mexican artist Javier Marín and architect Arcadio Marín.
With an active career spanning more than 30 years, Javier has exhibited and participated in more than 200 collective exhibitions in Mexico, the United States , Canada, as well as in countries in Central America, South America, Asia and Europe.
Javier’s work conceives an integral human being, analysing the creative process based on the construction and deconstruction of three-dimensional forms. In recent years, Javier has developed monumental works for public spaces to establish a dialogue between his pieces of art and the space itself. This dynamic is his attempt to foster alternate readings of urban living and its physical and human context.
A laboratory for ideas and artists-in-residence, Plantel Matilde is located in Sac Chich community, a site formerly dedicated to the cultivation of henequén (an agave plant). Javier believed the site would be apt for the expression of his creative prowess. His works are embodied by a sculptural scale and to that effect the magnificent setting and the vast landscape provide a perfect backdrop to the project. Intended to also serve as an observatory, the atelier has a viewpoint above the treetops that offers a 360-degree view of the area.
The architect has built Plantel Matilde with a ‘plastic approach’ to architecture where the project is not just beautiful but has been shaped to its most efficient form. The materials provide stability and strength to the structure, and the building draws from pre-Hispanic influences that echo the elements of church cloisters, Spanish and hacienda courtyards with a contemporary and non-ornamental appeal. These historic references adapted in a fresh aesthetic almost generates an ‘inhabitable sculpture’ in constant mutation.
The architectural design has been created around a square layout with a reflective pool at the centre, and the design is also in total harmony with principles at the heart of Javier’s creative production. The artist’s penchant for unpredictable, imperfections and work in progress has been adapted subtly and effectively into the building.
For more than a year, the Javier Marin Foundation has been holding workshops with the local Sac Chich community in order to work as a cooperative for the locals.
The architect has also paid attention to the functionality of the premises and keeping it as low maintenance as possible. Beyond aesthetic considerations, Javier was particularly focused on giving preference to solutions that would have the least environmental impact; the architect employs natural wind circulation throughout the structure to avoid the use of fans and air-conditioners for cooling.
Plantel Matilde is an unusual arts centre rising in the middle of the jungle of Yucatan, supporting practice and experience of artistic and creative projects in varied disciplines. The building also aims to create a positive impact on the cultural development of the Sac Chich community.